GRADED RESPONSE ACTION PLAN (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 - Environmental Pollution)

News-CRUX-10     29th July 2023        
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Context: Moving ahead with this vision and to further strengthen the measures to combat air pollution especially ‘Severe’ and ‘Severe+’ air quality stages generally encountered in NCR during peak winters, the Commission for Air Quality Management in NCR & Adjoining Areas (CAQM) announced revision in the existing Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP).

  • The revised GRAP will come into force w.e.f. 01st October, 2023 in the entire NCR.

Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP)

  • About : A set of emergency measures that kick in to prevent further deterioration of air quality once it reaches a certain threshold in the Delhi-NCR region. 
  • Origin: Approved by the Supreme Court in 2016 and notified in 2017, the plan was formulated.
  • Basis: It is based on a plan that was submitted by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) in November 2016. 
  • Notification: The GRAP was first notified in January 2017 by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
    • Implementation: The Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) has constituted a sub-committee for the operationalization of the GRAP.
      • This body includes officials from the CAQM, member secretaries of pollution control boards of Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, the Central Pollution Control Board, a scientist from the IMD and one from the IITM and Health Advisor.
      • The sub-committee is required to meet frequently to issue orders to invoke the GRAP.
      • The orders and directions of the CAQM will prevail in case of any conflict between directions issued by the State governments and the CAQM. 
  • Various stages:
    • Stage 1 of GRAP: Activated when the AQI is in the ‘poor’ category (201 to 300), and On Wednesday, for instance, the AQI in Delhi was 211.
    • Second, third and fourth stages: Activated three days ahead of the AQI reaching the ‘very poor’ category (301 to 400), ‘severe’ category (401 to 450) and ‘severe +’ category (above 450).
  • Data Source: For this, the CAQM is relying on air quality and meteorological forecasts by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) and the India Meteorological Department (IMD).